BackgroundAdvanced non-invasive neuroimaging techniques offer new approaches to study functions and structures of human brains. Whole-brain functional networks obtained from resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging has been widely used to study brain diseases like autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Auto-classification of ASD has become an important issue. Existing classification methods for ASD are based on features extracted from the whole-brain functional networks, which may be not discriminant enough for good performance.MethodsIn this study, we propose a network clustering based feature selection strategy for classifying ASD. In our proposed method, we first apply symmetric non-negative matrix factorization to divide brain networks into four modules. Then we extract features from one of four modules called default mode network (DMN) and use them to train several classifiers for ASD classification.ResultsThe computational experiments show that our proposed method achieves better performances than those trained with features extracted from the whole brain network.ConclusionIt is a good strategy to train the classifiers for ASD based on features from the default mode subnetwork.